Chinese tourists have built quite a reputation abroad when it comes to improper behavior and bringing goods through customs. Recently, a man was caught trying to smuggle $74,000 (494,716 RMB) into Hong Kong and a tourist was fined at Yellowstone National Park for going off the boardwalk.
Now, a Chinese woman who landed at Queenstown Airport in New Zealand was fined 400 NZD (1,900 RMB) for not declaring her “lucky tooth,” which was sniffed out by a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) biosecurity dog.
MPI released a statement, recounting that the woman’s travel companion informed officers it was a dog’s tooth bought in rural China used as a good luck charm when flying.
However, the staff quickly recognized it as a cow’s tooth. “It looked way too big to be from a dog,” said Andrew Spelman, MPI Border Clearance Manager.
Oops, guess she made a misteak.
Spelman also explained the dangers of such an item:
Under the worst case scenario the tooth could have been contaminated with foot-and-mouth disease, as China has had outbreaks of this devastating virus in the past.
It could also have been carrying other diseases such as rabies, given its rural origin and the unknown circumstance of the cow’s death.
Looks like the woman got off easy. Here are the potential repercussions:
Though a cow tooth seems quite ridiculous, it is far from a single case incident. The MPI released a statement titled “Busy Month for Biosecurity Staff,” detailing their interceptions.
These items include: dried frogs, undeclared fruit fly-infest chilies, a haul of mung beans and a declared tiger’s tooth.
By Sarah Lin
[Images via TheNanfang / MPI.Gov]